TALLAHASSEE — Still recovering from shock Friday, friends and colleagues described a 64-year-old Florida woman killed in a London knife rampage as a retired special education teacher who enjoyed tennis and doted on her husband.
Darlene Horton was spending time overseas with her husband, Richard Wagner, a Florida State University psychology professor who had been teaching in the university's summer program in England.
"Darlene was soft-spoken, and noncomplaining and a good friend," said Carolyn Allaire, who played tennis and took yoga classes with Horton. "Darlene would be the last person that I would ever imagine being brutally killed. She touched many, many people."
British police on Friday charged a 19-year-old Somali-Norwegian man, Zakaria Bulhan, with murder in Horton's death as well as five counts of attempted murder. The attack came Wednesday evening in a busy tourist area near the British Museum.
Horton and her husband, who have two adult daughters, had lived in Tallahassee for more than three decades and had a home in a leafy suburban neighborhood where she could be seen walking her dogs. Horton spent time playing tennis at nearby courts with a tight-knit group of friends.
"She's a really delightful individual," said Mary Alice Linzy, who played in the same tennis leagues and groups with Horton. "She was always very happy. I don't remember seeing her without a smile on her face."
Linzy said she had just gotten a text message this past Monday from Horton after asking if she would be back in Tallahassee in time to play tennis this week.
"It still has been a shock," Linzy said.
Wagner is the associate director at the Florida Center for Reading Research and did research on dyslexia and literacy. In an email to The Associated Press, he said no one was available for comment.
Janet Kistner, FSU's vice president for faculty development and advancement, told the Tallahassee Democrat (tbtim.es/14ro) that Horton was a bubbly, vibrant person deeply involved in her tightknit family. She said that Wagner and Horton had been traveling overseas for several years.
"They were a terrific couple, and a lot of us were quite close with them," Kistner added. "We are a faculty that knows everybody as family. It's very much a loss for all of us."